Monday, May 08, 2006

Parched With Thirst Am I

The last week has been very busy, perhaps you could tell by the drop in posting frequency.  My trip home from Schenectahole was thankfully uneventful, but a visit from the parental Bloods was looming.  My daughter was having her first communion Sunday and we’d be having a house full of company for the majority of the weekend.

Friday night would mark the 9th consecutive day that I did not play live poker.  I had a Jones for it the size of G-Rob’s head.  It’s funny; I go through phases with respect to the online/live poker split.  When I grow tired of one, I yearn for the other.

I coerced G-Rob to call my cell phone with a plan for mrsBlood to answer it.  That way, I could pawn off the idea that heading out to play in the underground game was all his idea.  That’s what we do in G-Vegas – we’re all fall guys for the other when it comes to convincing a reluctant spouse that so-and-so should in fact be allowed to “come out and play.”    I ended up getting more flack from my mom who, as I mentioned, was in town for a few days visiting.  I was burning up huge capital to go out and play poker, but in the end, I said “Fuck it, I’m playing.”

We arrived on the late side as the game usually starts at around 7pm.  Seats were scarce, but one opened up just as we arrived.  G-Rob and I flipped a coin to see who would get to sit first.  I lost.  And the craving grew.

After 30 minutes of waiting and drinking the free beer, finally a seat opened up.  A player had lost all his money on two hands.  The first was a coin flip; 99 vs. AK and the second was a flopped two-pair vs. a rivered flush draw.  He grew disgusted and left.  The seat would prove to be somewhat unlucky.

For the previous week, I’d been in somewhat of a card dead funk.  On Sunday night, April 30th, my records indicated that I was up for the year a sum greater than my entire 2005 winnings.  Since that fateful database query, my bankroll slowly but surely receded back down.  I wasn’t concerned, knowing full well that constant bankroll growth is impossible in poker.  I blamed a drought of big hands and some ill-timed bluffs.

When you combine card deadness with an itch to play, you often find frustration in the resulting mixture.  After folding for a good half hour, the following hand came up, which really shows how bad the play is at the raked game.

I’m on the button, and the rock is in play to my left.  For those unfamiliar with the rock, it’s a forced blind straddle.  In this $1/2 game, the rock is $5.  A bad player in middle position raises the rock to $25.  One of the few women regulars in the game pushes her short stack all-in with a raise to $48.  I look down at AK.  I’m willing to race with the short stack, so my move is to isolate.  I re-raise all-in to $123.  It’s folded back around to the original raiser who goes in the tank.  He finally calls.

Here’s what everyone is holding:  Short stack has AJo.  Nice.  The original raiser at first shows only one card.  It’s a ten.  I figure pocket tens and think that I’m in a tough spot because the short stack holds one of my outs.  Then the moron flips his other card.  It’s an Ace.  AK vs. AJ vs. AT.  I couldn’t have hoped for a better match up.

I reach into my wallet for a rebuy even before the flop hits the table.

Card dead streaks, plus good cards getting outdrawn equals crazy Blood tilt.  To be fair, I did not go on tilt per se, but I will confess to lapsing into the passive zone, which is nearly as costly.  The passive play continued on Saturday during some online play.  By Sunday morning, my peak bankroll had dropped by nearly 20%.

I’ve gone through similar drops before and will again.  When these downswings occur, my plan of action is to slow down a bit and begin booking some smaller wins.  Being content with any win is usually what gets me back to playing well.  If I grow too impatient and try to win back the losses too quickly by forcing things, then I usually just extend the downswing.  Sunday proved to be a decent day and I was able to recoup some losses with a renewed focus.

External distractions should subside for the coming week and I should be able to get back into the swing of the G-Vegas home game schedule.  And I’ll be right back here to report on it.  Because that’s what I do.

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